Senator Coons had pressed Administration to clarify that Delaware’s volunteer firefighters would not be considered “employees” of volunteer fire companies under the Affordable Care Act

In a letter sent to U.S. Senator Chris Coons on Friday, the Treasury Department announced it would issue new guidance to reconcile a conflict in the tax code that would require volunteer fire companies to count their volunteer firefighters as “employees” and potentially trigger the Affordable Care Act’s coverage mandate for businesses with more than 50 employees.

“Delaware’s volunteer fire companies are such an important part of the fabric of our communities,” Senator Coons said. “While the Affordable Care Act is already doing a lot of good for a lot of people, it isn’t perfect. The issue facing our volunteer fire companies needed to be fixed, and since Republicans’ commitment to repealing the law is making it impossible for us to repair the law, it was important for the President to step in. The action taken by the Treasury Department today will spare Delaware’s 60 volunteer fire companies from a significant unintended financial burden. I remain hopeful that Congress will come together to fix other issues with the Affordable Care Act that can only be repaired with legislation, but am grateful for the Administration's action today.”

The full Treasury Department letter can be read and downloaded here:

Last month, Senator Coons cosponsored legislation to clarify the “Shared Responsibility” provision of the Affordable Care Act to ensure that Delaware’s 6,000 volunteer firefighters and emergency responders were not counted be as “employees” in the eyes of the Internal Revenue Service. More here:

Also in December, Senator Coons sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew urging the Administration to explore a fix for this issue independent of Congress. It can be downloaded as a PDF here: